Reporters on the Job

A GLOBAL REACTION: Reporter William Boston says that German interest in President Bush's State of the Union address was high. "They wanted to know what he'd say and whether the US was going to war. Bill's day began at 7:15 a.m. with an appearance on a morning talk show, followed by a 10 a.m. appearance on a local version of C-SPAN, known as Phoenix.

"Phoenix rebroadcast the entire speech and I did blow-by-blow analysis," says Bill. He did one last talk show at 10 p.m. local time. Officially, he says, German reaction was that the decision still rests with the UN Security Council and Iraq has time to comply. "Unofficially, as my man-on-the-street interviews indicate (page 1), most Germans interpreted the speech as a declaration of war, or that the door on peace is closing rapidly."

In Turkey, the Monitor's Ilene Prusher also went out to get public reaction to the Bush speech and Monday's UN report on inspections (page 1). The first challenge was that the speech was at 4 a.m., not exactly prime time for Turkish viewers. The second was dealing with the peanut gallery.

"One older gentleman was listening in to some interviews I was doing with a few college students in a central thoroughfare. As I finished with them, the man said, 'How do you expect them to know anything? They're just kids.' I assured him that I had just interviewed a man that was several decades older than the students. 'What you are doing is statistically irrelevant!' he said in response. True, 'man-on-the-street' interviews are by their nature anecdotal. I make no claim that these represent a statistically correct survey of public opinion - but they give us snapshots of opinion.

"The man wanted to lecture me on how to do a statistical survey correctly. But I was minutes from deadline, and had to apologize and leave. He kept hollering. I suspect he was just angry that I didn't interview him."

David Clark Scott
World editor

Cultural snapshot
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